Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Been A While

It's been so long since we have been on the blog. I know we all say it nowadays, but we have been too busy! I love reading blogs, and have a few favorites I peek at for a few seconds almost daily, but haven't taken time to update ours. If anyone still reads, thanks for thinking of us! I think I'll just update with a few new pictures to show some of Marissa's recent activities.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Long Time

It's been so long since we last posted...but we are alive and well! Marissa has been so busy we've even had a hard time getting her into the studio to paint, but thankfully, we had a couple of days this past week and she was able to create a few new paintings to take to her grand Opening Night at the gallery yesterday. What an event! A big "thank you" from Marissa to everyone who took the time to attend! She had the BEST time and was a perfectly gracious and loving hostess to all her guests.
Marissa has expressed, quite clearly, that she wants part of her sales to go to her orphanage. We are working with Love Without Boundaries to make this happen. KSCL will also get a portion of her sales while her items are at the gallery. They also own the chair she painted, and it will be auctioned off in December to raise funds for their organization.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tutus and Rainboots

I think it's a given that when you're 5 you should be free to wear tutus with your jeans and rainboots...don't you?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fly, Fly Away

This should be the last night we have butterflies in our schoolroom.
We finished a unit on butterflies several weeks ago. Unfortunately, I didn't time things well...if only I had thought about what I was doing instead of forging ahead...but, we finished the unit and received our teeny tiny caterpillars in the mail, watched them grow to really big and fat caterpillars, then change into chrysalides, and emerge as beautiful the cold winter!!
We've had our butterflies for a week and are now donating them to the zoo. We could keep them here, but I feel sorry for them living in our tiny habitat. We'll keep it and order more caterpillars later...when we can release them to live outside in the proper temperature!
We marveled with Marissa as we watched the miraculous changes and thought about our salvation and walk with the Lord, and also our new life when we get to Heaven. What a great learning and teaching tool in so many ways (for all of us). This is yet another example of why I love homeschooling so very much!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


We were shopping at a bead store today when Marissa informed the sales clerk that we lost Jaime. The twist on her telling someone this time is that she was very specific that I (me) had lost my daughter. Marissa very noticably minimized her loss of Jaime, her sister. After she shared about my loss, she motioned that she wanted to whisper something in my ear. When I leaned close to listen to what she wanted she share, she told me that her loss was not as important as mine.


The things people carry around inside can be so big and no one ever knows the magnitude of pain or guilt or whatever unless we choose to share it. I'm so glad Marissa did. So very glad. I never had a clue she felt that way.

I told her right there in that store that loss is loss. Grief and pain are still grief and pain. It doesn't matter who or what we lose. The fact that Jaime was my daughter doesn't mean that my pain was worse or more significant than the loss of her special sister.

When we got into the car after leaving the shop, we talked some more. I just didn't want to let the conversation drop. I had to make sure she understood that her feelings, fears, dreams, whatever...are so important and special to me. I reminded her again that she can share anything with her Daddy and me and that whatever it is won't make us love her any less. Her feelings are never too scary or big or bad or anything to share. We talked about how feelings can get bigger than they should be or scarier or whatever sometimes until we release and share them. Then the scariness or importance can be put into place or erased or whatever.

I treasure the moments we can really talk and share and they really make me miss the days Jaime and I used to do the same thing.

I love my kids. Brandon and Marissa...keep talking to me anytime. I want to hear and share. I want to love you. I want you to feel loved and important and special, because you are...and what you feel matters so much to me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Wisdom. It is something we all want and need more of. I love praying for wisdom in front of my daughter. I believe it tells her (not only shows her) that I feel it is important and that I really want it. I also pray for wisdom for Marissa (in front of her).

Today was a perfect example of one of our answers to pray for wisdom. While we were driving home from the grocery store, Marissa and I were talking about her loves of painting and dancing. Our discussion veered off onto the avenue of time and activities. On a side note here - Marissa has always loved jewels and jewelery - so I also told her that maybe she would also be a jewlery designer someday. I thought she would accept that compliment and agree that she had quite a few things she might consider doing as an adult. Instead, she turned quite serious and informed me that there is only so much time in a day and that she is already very busy. She said that she is very involved in dance and painting, so she just really didn't think it would be good to try designing jewelery, too.

I love that she was paying attention to what I was saying and that she logically decided that she was already at her "limit" in activities. Marissa has always been a very logical thinker. Now, since she knows I prayed about her receiving more wisdom, I need to make sure I follow-up and draw attention to the fact that God is answering our prayers and that her thoughts on activity levels are a gift of wisdom from Him.

I love watching God work. I love that Marissa sees it, too. I know when we sit down to discuss this again that she will have already thought of it. She keeps me on my toes. I love that, too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Art World

I love watching people react to Marissa's paintings. I have been very surprised at the amount of people who give her real respect for her designs and ideas. I truly hate to say this because it really makes me sound terrible, but I thought people would react to her with more reluctance or that they would barely tolerate (with amusement) looking at her work. While we have had some of that before they see that she really does have talent, especially at some of the higher end galleries, once most people see her work, they really react as though she were another adult. Some even admire her with wonder. Most can't wait to see what she will do next.

As her mother, I treasure those reactions. I love seeing the quiet confidence upon which she presents herself and her artwork. It is simply what she has in her mind - transfered to canvas. She makes no apologies, no excuses, no explanations. Her work is what it is. She hasn't learned the ways adults critique and worry. She is free to discover what she can do and free to enjoy her talents.

I told Marissa that I love the way God builds families. I told her that I never painted until I was waiting for her to come home. I suddenly had the urge to paint when I wanted her to have a bedroom full of flowers and butterflies. I loved creating her space and it was filled with so much love and anticipation that I'm sure she must have felt it when she discovered the paintings as she grew. Next, I worked on her playroom, filling spaces with animals and plants that she loved so much she kissed and hugs the very walls I covered. I knew God was giving me just a bit of talent at the time...enough to give a little girl joy from her mother's heart.

What I have since learned is that He gave me enough talent to jumpstart the great talents He gave my daughter. He planned for me to paint those spaces so that I'd have the supplies on hand to give Marissa so she could take off with the visions she carried in her own mind. I know just enough about painting to set her free. I know just enough to believe in what she is doing, whether she paints for a season or a lifetime.

Isn't God good? I can't wait to see what He does next.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


It makes me so sad when people bad-mouth Christianity. I know we are all entitled to our own beliefs. To be honest, God created us that way. He gives us free will; He lets us choose whether or not we will proclaim Him as God and His Son as the Lord of our life. But if someone is not a Christian or if they profess not to believe anything and then say "they gave religion a chance and nothing changed," it saddens me.
Christianity isn't like wearing a coat. You can't wrap it around you for a while then discard it like the fit wasn't right or it was the wrong color for you. A walk with the Lord is just that...a walk. It's a relationship: just like the one I have with anyone else I husband, my children, etc. It's getting to know them better, serving them, sacrificing for them. It's spending time with them, and when I mess up, it's asking for forgiveness and starting over.
It also makes me sad and ever so humbled when I hear the same people state that they tried religion and they were so let down by the so-called Christians that they stopped believing. Christians aren't God. He alone is the one to look to, the one to emulate. Every single Christian in this world is going to let others down; we are going to mess up. You can count on it. Only the Lord won't.
I'm not judging those who feel this way. I just hope that some of them somehow see this post and realize that my words are true...that it will cause them to come to the Lord and submit, to understand that He will not let them down. But he isn't a magic genie. Just because God doesn't always answer prayers like we wish, it doesn't mean He can't hear them or that He is not listening. I know He is. Not only does the Bible tell us He does (and that should settle it), I know from experience what a personal and caring Savior the Lord is.
Did my experience with losing a child make my faith deeper? I can say that this walk has extended the roots of my faith deeper, more solidly because it has shown me how intimate God is. I believed by faith that He was with me. I believed by faith everything the Bible told me. Now I believe by experience and it makes my faith much richer.
God loves you. He loves every single one of us intimately and personally. Let Him minister to you in whatever you need. Believe in Him. Believe even when it hurts, believe even when someone tells you that you are silly or crazy. But in order to grow your relationship with Him you have to be intentional. Don't expect him to do all the work. Relationships on earth don't run that way. Why should they with the Creator of the Universe?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


There is an ancient belief in China that "an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may tangle or stretch, but it will never break."
Although I don't believe in myths, I believe that there are those whom God has destined for us to meet. One of the people in my life I believe this to be true of is Marybeth. There is no way she would ever allow me to post a picture of her on this blog, so I won't, but I must say that she is a sweetly humble and intelligent friend. Although we have only spent three days together in person, we have sent many emails, blog messages, and phone calls to each other over the years...enough to say that we can truly call each other friend.
During the last year when we grieved over our loss of Jaime, Marybeth kept me and my family in prayer, she continually checked on us, and let us know she was there to talk to or whatever. This from a woman located on one of the coasts, while we are in the middle of the country. I knew she cared.
We share a love for our daughters, both from China, both adopted from China at the same time; and we both share a love for God.
She stepped out and gave her heart, genuinely let me know Christlike love and I am so thankful. In this Valentine season I just wanted to post about this sweet friend. Marybeth, let's keep that red thread stretched across the miles until we get together again and see our sweet girls and wonderful husbands getting along just as well as we do. And...thank you again for caring the way you do, about others. I know I'm not the only person you give your heart to.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Over the years many people have asked me if I ever published any of the books I wrote. Many ask me if I still write. That's because up until my late thirties I was consumed with writing.

If you consider blogging, journaling, articles and stories and poems to my children, or writing notes to friends writing, then yes, I still write. If you don't...well the answer has to be a no. I no longer write books and ironically, the book I was having the most fun writing remains unfinished...but of course saved in my computer.

What happened? Well, when at one time I felt I needed to write just as I needed the air to breathe, to sustain my life, that deep yearning has been replaced with what I feel God wants in my life.

When I finally let go of the dream I had for myself and picked up the dream God had for me, I no longer felt a void in my life. I had thought that void was there because I wasn't published, but the harder I tried and the doors keep closing, the more I thought I wanted it. When I got sick in my mid to late thirties, I had to stop writing. When my life with the Lord became more focused and I asked Him what He wanted, and I really listened and obeyed, that void disappeared and the desires of my heart changed.

Now I have another precious child. A child of my heart. One who is fortunate enough to have a mother who knows she is what God has planned for me in this season of my life. When I write for her, I know it is something God wants on paper. If He wants the rest of the world to see it, they will. I am content with that. In the meantime, blogging is also fun. This electronic journal not only allows me to empty random thoughts, but to share with others who may enjoy hearing or need to hear the same thing at that time. If not, they don't need to read it!

When our Heavenly Father created us, He knew the plans He had for us. When we listen and obey, when we look to Him and walk with Him, He will provide the desires of our hearts. The desire of our hearts become His. They become what He intended them to be. That is the only time we feel great peace and joy.

Marissa, as a creator of beauty, my painter and dancer understands this. She knows what it is like to create and love something. She gets it. What a precious jewel, a treasure she is. As much as I love her, God loves her more. More than I can imagine. Enough to die for her.

I can love Him enough to lay down the pen and listen for direction on what He would have me do next. Isn't it ironic that I felt He wanted me to start another blog?

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Start

Welcome to our newest blog! For those who have been faithful followers of Marissa's blog (, we hope you'll continue to look at both. With all the interest in Marissa's paintings, we are just in the process of changing her blog into a website to showcase her designs...and that makes me hesitant to blog anything I want to write about, so this blog was started.

First off, let me make it clear that we don't profess to have a life free of troubles. The blog name "Life Full of Sparkles" was Marissa's idea. I'm joyful that she feels her life is full of sparkles...after all when you're five, your life should feel sparkly. It's all in our point of view.

So often at night I awaken with full blog posts about life...not that they'll make sense when presented in the light of day...but I wonder what work God might be trying to do in me. So this blog will be a blend of my faith, my growth, my highs and lows, and our life. If you're in for the ride, welcome. If it sounds like a bore, I don't blame you. After all, who am I, but one woman trying to live a life of sparkles.